After a morning of chores and since the sun was shining, Francine and I decided to limber up our legs in the afternoon. We chose to start in Jalón and wander around some of the roads and tracks on the southern side of the valley, those which we look at from our balcony in Casa Libélule.
We parked down in town and began by ascending the stations of the cross in Jalón, the only steep-ish bit of what was going to be a casual walk. As we began descending from the not-very-high high point, we startled a squirrel – in this part of the world, they are all Red Squirrels – who scampered up the nearest tree trunk and eyed us suspiciously. Francine, who was intent on scouting out potential almond blossom orchards, had her camera with her and managed to snag him, albeit on a landscape lens.
Descending further down the side of our very modest col, we became the startled ones, this time by seeing a dragonfly flitting about in a sheltered sunny spot. Expecting the dragonfly season to have ended, I did not have my camera with me but borrowed Francine’s. Once again the non-wildlife lens was pressed into wildlife use just for the record. Being 12th January, this certainly was a record, for me, anyway, being a new latest date for my European sightings. It’s a Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum), extending my season and answering the question I posed by writing Last of the Few? a week or so ago. Apparently not. The biggest surprise to me here was not so much the date but the location; we were quite a distance from the nearest water of which I am aware.
The rest of our walk was pleasant enough and Francine spent some time eyeing up a few possible almond plantations in readiness for almond blossom time in February. I’m not sure anything really stood out and grabbed her but it’s difficult to assess before the blossom bursts.
‘T was a pleasant walk of 3mls/5kms or so. Enough to keep the legs limbered up and we did snag our latest European dragonfly ever.